Gerrit Cole pitched another masterpiece — a Perfect Game into the 6th, a 1-hit shutout after 7, leaving after 8 innings up 5-1, having allowed just 2 hits, striking out 9, walking 0.
Cole just about nailed down the Cy Young Award. He goes to 14-4 with a league-leading 2.75 ERA. He of course should be something like 21-3 if the Yanks had given him decent run support through the year, and the bullpen hadn’t blown a few of his wins. He is having that kind of a season.
The Yank offense came from a 1st-inning, 3-run homer by Jake Bauers, and then insurance runs in the 6th and 7th on RBI doubles by Estevan Florial and Aaron Judge, respectively. On a beautiful September Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.
“He was just dialed in,” said manager Aaron Boone about Cole afterwards. “I thought he was putting it where and how he wanted to all night. I don’t know if it was his best stuff, but I just thought he was so sharp — I think he hung one breaking ball that they popped up on him — but other than that he was just where he wanted to be, over and over again.”
NY salvages a win in the 3-game set against Toronto to improve to 77-76, 7.5 behind the Wild Card with 9 games to go. Toronto drops to 85-68.
1. Cole Masterful
What a joy to watch Gerrit Cole in his prime. Effortless on the hill — throwing 98-MPH SMOKE, and nasty off-speed pitches with easy-motion delivery; every pitch hitting exactly where he intends it to hit; fooling batters with a masterful game plan. And then the wonderful, thoughtful interviews afterwards.
Cole retired the first 15 Blue Jays in order — and had a Perfect Game going into the 6th when Alejandro Kirk hit a 1-out double to right. Cole stranded him, retiring the next 5 batters in a row to head into the 8th with a 1-hit shutout going, with no walks. Ben Rortvedt was catching, as he always does since he joined the big club in the summer.
“We were extremely unpredictable in my opinion,” said Cole afterwards. Ben was outstanding back there, reading swings, and putting us in good positions to attack the zone with different pitches. And we were executing at a high clip.”
Matt Chapman led off the 8th with a double — only the 2nd baserunner that Cole allowed all night — moved to 3rd on a grounder, and scored on a wild pitch and it was 5-1 NY, before Cole got the last two batters to leave after 8 innings with the 5-1 lead.
From the dugout he sign-languaged “I Love You” to his son sitting in the stands. See end of this clip:
2. Bauers Blast
Jose Berrios started for the Blue Jays, entering with a 11-10 3.49 record. Unlike the prior nights when the Yankee offense was muffed by Blue Jay starters Yusei Kikuchi and Kevin Gausman, NY pounced on Berrios — and cashed in on their pouncing.
DJ LeMahieu led off the bottom of the 1st with a single, and Gleyber Torres followed with a 1-out single. Jake Bauers — batting cleanup with the slumping Giancarlo Stanton getting a night off — ripped a 3-run homer to the upper deck in right for a 3-0 NY lead. It was Bauers first home run since August 6.
3. Florial RBI Double
After the Bauers homer, Berrios settled down to keep it 3-0 NY until the 6th, when with 2 outs, Isiah Kiner-Falefa doubled to left, sending Berrios to the showers at 99 pitches.
In came Tim Mayza, and Estevan Florial greeted him with a Clutch, 2-out RBI double to right for a 4-0 Yankee lead. A Huge insurance run.
4. Judge RBI Double
In the bottom of the 7th, Mayza walked DJ LeMahieu with 1 out. Toronto brought in Nate Pearson to pitch, and LeMahieu immediately stole 2nd base.
The stolen base was perfectly timed as next batter Aaron Judge ripped an RBI double to left, scoring LeMahieu for a 5-0 NY lead.
5. Holmes Agita; Gleyber Muffs One
So it was 5-1 NY to the 9th and Clay Holmes on the hill — Holmes who had blown a win for Gerrit Cole a month and a week ago, when he coughed up a 7-3 lead in the 9th that triggered the Yankees 9-game losing streak.
Holmes got Guerrero Jr to ground out to 3rd, and the Yanks almost turned the double play to end the game but Vlad was called safe at 1st. The Yanks challenged and lost, as the throw beat Vlad but LeMahieu’s foot came slightly off the bag.
Two outs, 5-2 NY, tying run at the plate — and Holmes got the tough Bo Bichette to hit a grounder to 2nd for the old ballgame — except Gleyber Torres threw badly to 1st for an error and 5-3 game.
That brought up Spencer Horwitz with the tying run now on 1st. Holmes got him to hit an 0-1 sinker softly to 1st where LeMahieu fielded it for the old ballgame.